Eison (Walk 13)

I was itching to go for a walk today, but I didn’t want to repeat something that I’ve posted recently.  So I looked back at my earliest posts and found this one, which I did back in April 2015.   Hence I think this will be new to most of you…🙂

The walk goes north from the chalet, along the east side of the Val d’Hérens.  After climbing about 300 metres (1,000 ft) to Volovron, the path meanders and undulates through the woods to the small village of Eison.  From there the path descends and returns via a different route through the woods to Evolène.  In total, it’s about 15k or 9 miles.

 

Beaches and Castellammare, Sicily, Italy (4 of 4)

It would be remiss of me not to mention the (many) fantastic beaches that can be found around the NW coast of Sicily.  The ones we discovered were mainly pebbly beaches, with the stones getting ever smaller towards the sea.  But this meant that the waters were crystal clear.  They can be very crowded in the summer, so I’d advise going out of the peak season and you may lucky, like us, and have them almost all to yourselves.🙂

During the week we had been driving into Castellammare to eat each evening, so we had never seen it in the daylight.  We therefore stopped off on the way back to the airport to take some pictures of the beautiful harbour from the road above.

Salt Road and Erice, Sicily, Italy (3 of 4)

To the west of Sicily you will find the towns of Trapani and Marsala, which is famous for its wine.  We took a drive between the two, along what is known as the Salt Road, due to the salt flats which run along the coast.  We had seen some pictures of the area in the  B&B, showing huge piles of salt next to some windmills, so we figured it was a good place to take photographs.  After taking the usual shots, I experimented with the black & white and one point colour features of my Panasonic/Lumix DMC-TZ58 point and shoot camera.  (For info. almost all of my photos are taken with this camera).

Afterwards we drove up to the beautiful, historic village of Erice, which sits on the top Mount Erice at a height of around 750 metres or nearly 2,500 ft.  As you can imagine, there are magnificent views all around and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in the area.

San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily, Italy (Part 2 of 4)

Jude loves lighthouses.  So we just had to visit San Vito Lo Capo, which sits at the very north west tip of Sicily.

To get there, we attempted to drive the direct route over the mountains, which, even this close to the sea, rise to over 1,100 metres (3,600 ft).  But, silly Mike had read the map wrong before setting off and we ended up on an extremely bumpy quarry road and had to turn back.

Going the longer route did, however, allow us to take in some of the beautiful Sicilian countryside.  In between the mountains, the rolling fields were well manicured and a lot greener than we expected.

 

 

Zingaro Nature Reserve, near Scopello, Sicily, Italy (1 of 4)

Jude and I have just returned from a wonderful week staying at a B&B called Villa delle Anfore, which is in Scopello, towards the north west of Sicily.   The weather wasn’t perfect (and all of the restaurants were closed in the village, due to the time of year), but that didn’t stop us exploring the north west corner of this charming island.

About 1 kilometre (3/4 mile) north of the village lies the Zingaro Nature Reserve.  It stretches 7 km (4.5 miles) along the coastline to the east of San Vito Lo Capo. (More of that to come in a later post).  The reserve is home to an abundance of rare and endemic plants, including several species of orchid, and is a regular nesting site for birds, such as Eagles, Rock Patridges, Peregrine Falcons and Kestrels.  Read more about the Zingaro Reserve here.

Jude and I walked along the coastal path on our first day, before I took off later in the week to do the higher path via Sughero.  (The pictures below cover both walks). Be warned though, after rain (and Jude and I got caught in a huge thunderstorm – sheltering under palm leaves) the muddy path gets as sticky as mud can get.  After only a few steps, you’re carrying what feels like lead weights in your shoes !

Lac Genin and the Jura, France

Jude and I have just come back from a few nights away, meeting up with our good friends Michelle and Arthur (who is an amazing artist).  They live in Viennes, which is just south of Lyon in France, and we met up about half way, in a small town called Bellignat in the Franche-Comté region of France.

Yesterday we went for a walk around nearby Lac Genin, before driving to St Claude for some lunch.  Afterwards we took a drive around some villages in the Jura, where the temperature dropped to minus 5 degrees C (23 F) at one point.  So it was not surprising that the snow lay deep and crisp and even.   :-)

First snow… and a prize winner !

It seems Autumn has been and gone in the blink of an eye…

I posted some pictures of the first snow in Evolène last year, so I thought I’d do the same again – especially as Jude has won a prize !  The local Tourist Information Office ran a competition to guess the date of the first snow in the village and Jude got it spot on !  Her prize is a free day of cross country skiing, though it will take a bit more snow (and a few more weeks probably) before the pistes are ready.

Today was also the day we’d booked the car into the garage in Les Haudères to change to winter tyres. (Talk about just in time!)  So below is our view this morning and some pictures of my walk back to Evolène while the tyres were being done.

Higger Tor, Peak District, UK

I’ve just returned from a week in the UK, visiting my daughter, Sarah, in Sheffield; my dad, sister and brother’s family in Kingston-upon-Hull and some of my mates in York.

The only exercise I had (other than some right and left arm ‘beer lifts’ – of course🙂  ) was a walk with Sarah in the northern Peak District.  See map below (pic 15).  It was a circular walk from the Upper Burbage Bridge car park, over the oddly named Higger Tor and Carl Wark to Toad’s Mouth, before returning along Burbage Rocks.

On the way we met dog walkers, cross country runners, climbers and other photographers trying to capture the ‘mer de nuages’ (sea of clouds) in the Derwent or Hope valley.  We also indulged in a bit of rock jumping – to test the multiburst on my little camera. (Pic 6).

Family Walk to Lac Bleu

For the last day of their holiday, the Preece family decided to do the short, but sharp, walk from La Gouille up to Lac Bleu. (Unfortunately mum, Jo, had some prep work to do for school next week, and Jude had some cakes to bake, so they left the rest of us to it…  )

Needing a little more exercise, Alex and I took the path down to Les Haudères and along the river back to the chalet, while father, David, drove the younger children home.

Although I’ve posted pictures of this walk before, it never ceases to amaze me how you can always see something different.  For example, I have to give credit to Alex for spotting the rainbow waterfall (pic 20).  There are also some Halloween images for you all to enjoy – see if you can spot the black cat !

Family scramble to the Ferpècle Glacier

After 2 days of rain, the troops (aka the Preece family) were itching to take on a walking challenge – and a challenge it certainly proved to be.  The usual way up to view the Ferpècle glacier requires a short climb but, due to yesterday’s rain and the early morning frost, this route was a little icy.  Luckily the fallen boulders nearby gave us an alternative option, though it still required a lot of care and a bit of a scramble.  From there it was a fairly straightforward, but steep, hike up some rock slabs to the best viewing point.

On the way up my camera had a slight aberration, as Oliver and his mum appear to be ‘glowing’ (see pic 5).   The boys then posed, to play ‘Top Trumps in extreme places’, for a photographic competition.  Let’s hope they win.🙂

Regular readers will note that the hole in the glacier seems to have collapsed at the front.  In fact, most of it has melted away since my last update post in July.